Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How being thankful makes us better writers

Lately I’ve been on work overload. I’m sure many of you know the feeling. I had a deadline while getting ready for a conference and promoting my recent release. Throughout all of this, I still had to be a mom and a wife even though I’m sure there have been moments where I haven’t been the best at any of it.

I had a wake up call. A friend of mine from college has a child just a few months younger than my daughter. We were pregnant the same time and I remember discussing baby products with her over the phone. Her child has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The baby has all ready had multiple brain surgeries and will have a combination of chemo and radiation for an entire year.

I learned this horrible news just before I left town for the RWA National Conference in New York City. It was great to see my Twitter friends, meet new people and discuss and grow with my writing. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about my friend’s baby and everything that her family is going through. It made me regret all the moments when I have looked up from my desk to see my daughter smiling at me and I didn’t say anything. Don't you think the families who lost someone on September 11th would love to have another moment with whom they lost?

The truth is that we should always be thankful for what we have before we stress out about the things that would quickly fall to the side if tragedy occurred.

As soon as I returned from NYC, I was exhausted and energized to dive into my new manuscript. I know everyone says that you must get back into the routine. You must write your normal daily writing goal beginning the day you return. That was my plan. I did something different. I did write about three pages and reviewed the outline for my new project but I put playing with my daughter first. Even though I was exhausted, seeing her smile and show me her different toys gave me a surge of energy. I was thankful for my child and the fact that have the gift to work from home so I can be with her.

Now that I’ve been writing full time from home now for over a year I have developed a flow that works for me. Some days, I even manage to go over my daily writing goal while still meeting freelance demands. But I’m doing something different and I have found that it clears my mind to be more creative because I’m happy, I’m not stressed. I play with my daughter for writing breaks. I use to use my writing breaks for bottle times, meal times and let her play on the floor of my office with her toys. I love how she can entertain herself, but now I’m much more involved in playtime. I am so lucky and when I’m stressed I am going to hang onto that feeling and know that I can accomplish anything.

Using the happy energy that I get from playing with her positively affects my writing. What do you do for writing breaks? How do you harvest your energy in order to apply it to the page?


I want to thank ‘Writer Wellness’ author Joy E. Held for her guest post last week. Joy is a much calmer writer than I am and I always love to learn from her. Follow her blog and learn more about Joy and her book, ‘Writer Wellness.”

I have launched my official writing website. You can visit it at Thanks to my fabulous brother for doing such a great job. Now I'm sure I'll have some new ideas after this conference :-)

Speaking of websites, Who Dares Wins Publishing has a new one. Check is out.

My non-fiction, ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog,’ is out. Vets will always be your first resource in pet care, but as owners, we have a lot of power in giving our dog the best possible life. It is currently selling for $2.99 with a percentage going to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine.

I’m participating, as an author in The 400 Hundred Hours to Four Hundred Days blog tour. The purpose of this is to celebrate the upcoming release of L Carroll’s second book, ‘Four Hundred Days.’ A component of this tour is a social media contest. If you are interested in winning a free book read the rules below.

The goal behind this contest is to spread the word about Four Hundred Days as far as possible to as many people as possible.

Four Hundred Days is the second book in the Lor Mandela series by L Carroll. It’s a captivating trilogy.

Win Nice Girls Does Noir by Julia Crane

To Enter:

· Tweet “Join us on the 400 Hour to @FourHundredDays blog tour (participants add your link to this contest here)

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As You can find more info and the 400 Hours to Four Hundred Days blog tour button at Woven Strands


  1. Lovely piece and a heart-wrenching reminder of how we are blessed. Thank you for this piece.

  2. Natalie,

    This is a beautiful post that resonated deeply for me. My inner curmudgeon likes to moan and whine about not having enough time; however, when I stop to think about all the things I waste my morning doing, I realize I do have the time time, I've just poured it into things that drain me.

    Although I am not a mother, I am a wife, a friend, a daughter . . . I struggle with the balance and can wind up stressed if I am not careful. You make a great point: It's so very easy to take things for granted or to assume that you will "get to that later" but it's not always so. Your baby will only be this age for this short period of time. Writing will always be there. And so true about energizing activities. It makes no sense that I would have more energy after exerting myself with a long conversation with a loved one or a wrestle with my sweet dog, but somehow, I do. :)

    Thank you for the reminder. I blogged about something similar the other day on complaining. Would love to have your thoughts. The hard part will be following my own advice :)

    Thank you for sharing this, Natalie.

  3. Thanks for the comments Dave and Cara. This really is an eye opening time that I hope to grow from and become a better writer and mother in the process.

  4. I heard the following (from James MacDonald): Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for living. I like that.

    It can be hard to balance the daily demands, and it's important to take time to savor moments. Thanks for the reminder, Natalie!